Folk Tales of Gujarat (and Jhaverchand Meghani)

by Vandana P. Soni | 2014 | 98,532 words

This study represents an English translation of the Gujarat Folk tales composed by Gujarati poet Jhaverchand Meghani (1896-1947). Meghani was born in Chotila and left an important landmark on the history of Saurashtra and Gujarat folklore, Indian poetry, journalism and other literary sciences....

Chapter 32 - Vikram and Vidhata

To inspect about his people’s condition and to check whether his people were happy or unhappy King Vikram kept touring in disguise. While travelling, in one village he made a night stay at the house of one Brahmin. The Brahmin woman had delivered a baby boy and it was the sixth night of his birth.

Extremely exhausted King Vikram put his weapons beside pillow and fell asleep. Brahmin also went to bed after eating shiro which in fact was cooked for his wife. He snored alike the bellows that blow in kiln of Blacksmith. Hungry Brahmin woman also fell asleep.

Exactly at midnight, the goddess of Destiny arrived. She was holding in her hand an inkpot containing kumkum, a pen was kept around the space of top ridge of her ear; and in the armpit she held a tabular form for counting.

Goddess entered into house slowly. She sat down near bed of a newly born baby boy. The diya of ghee was burning. She increased the light of the lamp by stirring up wick. She started to draw lines of destiny on forehead and palms of a child.

What did she write?

It was written that everyday his metallic pot would be filled with two and half kg flour. It was forecasted that in future he would get an authority to charge higher amount at the end of every religious ceremony, along with the gifts that he might receive as a priest after performing religious rites. He was destined to get special coin and the amount that was given to the state during marriage of a girl. It was prophesized that in his profession of Priest he would receive dhoti. Goddess of Destiny also wrote that in his destiny, there was 16 years old priestess but when time of drawing his age span came, at that time—-

Arrrrr! The pen fell down from the hand of Goddess of Destiny. Soon Goddess got up. Light of the lamp was blown out. Beating her forehead goddess started to walk out.

As she went in lobby, she bumped in with the body of a sleeping man. King Vikram got up and he was startled soon he held legs of Goddess of Destiny. He asked, ‘who are you? Are you an enchantress? Are you a witch?’

Goddess said, “Hey, King Vikram, let me go, I am the writer of fate of people of the three worlds, viz., the heaven, the earth and the hell.”

“Goddess of Destiny: why did you come here?”

“I came to inscribe Future of child that is written on the sixth day after birth.”

“Mother, what did you write?”

“Master, please do not ask me.”

“Please tell, otherwise, how I could allow you to walk a single step? I am on guard.”

“Vikram, his future is good and bright but his age span is of only 18 years. During his fully bloomed youth; and in the middle of his marriage ceremony in chori itself the lion will attack and kill him when he would be taking the fourth auspicious round around the sacred fire.”

Vikram underwent a frightful stroke. “Oh Goddess Destiny, whether Brahmin’s daughter would get widowhood right itself in the chori? Is there any solution to escape from this mishap?”

“No solution and no way out!” After saying so, Goddess Destiny walked out.

At that time Vikram challenging the goddess shouted, “Listen Goddess! Today during my vigilance you have cheated me and you wrote premature death of one who gave me shelter, you will agree with me on the day when I would prove wrong destiny of a Brahmin boy forecasted by you. I cannot remain useless or burdensome for one who has provided me shelter.”

Goddess went off. In the morning, Vikram became more alert after learning a lesson; while leaving the house he advised, “Hey Priest, please send me an invitation card at Ujjaini when you get your son married. I will come by bringing all the gifts given to daughter’s sons by maternal grandparents and maternal uncles on the occasion of marriage.”

18 years passed away within the wink of eyes. Brahmin came and stood at the gate of

Ujjaini and said: “Hey King, I have brought a Kankotri.”

“Priest I am ready, I am present. Let it strike at the beat of the drum. Get the army ready. I would go in the marriage procession of my nephew.”

Army marched as swiftly at the pace of surging waves of the sea.

“Be alert and cordon the mandap by keeping innumerable swords ready. Patrol at the gate with a gun loaded with bullets and keep a wick burning for firing a gun and cannon. If a lion approaches here then shoot him down with a bullet.”

There was a pin drop silence in the village. People were amazed to know about the King of Ujjain’s resolution to make prophecy of Goddess Destiny wrong for the son of Brahmin. Ah...ha!

By keeping a sword ready, King stood in the mandap; meanwhile the call of Samay Varte Savdhan came from the priest who was performing the rituals of marriage ceremony.

One round, two rounds and finally three rounds were over.

‘Oh, now what type of pressure? Very soon when the fourth auspicious round; will be over then; written destiny by Goddess Destiny will turn false.”

But as they went to take the fourth auspicious round at that time one Lion came by roaring, leaping, waging tail and emitting the sound hu-hu-hu-hu. By holding bridegroom by the neck; lion sucked bridegroom’ s throat’s bone. Where it came from? How this deadly disaster happened? Did Lion come out by slitting the earth?

Oh no, it neither came from the sky nor it came out of the earth; the picture of lion that was painted on the decorated pot of marriage became alive as the Goddess of Destiny sprinkled nectar from the sky. It was very stout Lion. It had razor sharp teeth; on beholding it, a man might die out of fear.

After sucking bridegroom’s throat suddenly it settled in the pot and became a still painting. Vikram turned pale as the piece of dry mud; due to shame his blood of the body froze and one could not find a single drop of blood in his body even if one cut him. He felt embarrassment to that extent that he thought; if the earth split up and give him a way then he would bury himself.

“Do not worry. Brothers please do not cry. Do not shed a single drop of tear. Oh father of bridegroom, consider your son as dead for six months. Hey, father of bride consider your daughter as widow for six months. I want six months of period. I will bring pitcher of resuscitating nectar otherwise, I will not rule over Ujjaini. By stuffing, medicines in the corpse keep the lamp of ghee burning before the dead body and wait for six months. If I come empty handed, then along with your son I will end my life by burning myself in funeral pyre.

Giving such advice, Vikram drove away his horse. On the way, he came across 12x4= 48 gaw long jungle. As he entered into jungle then frightful, mammoth flame was burning and appalling yelp for help was echoing from it: ‘I am burning, burning! If there had been

King Vikram then he could not remain without saving me.’

Ohhoho, some dejected, is wailing by using my name.’

As he went, he saw one large serpent, completely poached in fire. Vikram by putting his hand in intense blazing fire took out the serpent. The serpent said, ‘benevolent man, who are you?’

“I am king Vikram whom you were calling.”

Aha, hey King, remover of other’s misery; in my body there is severe burning sensation. Please, allow me to abide in your nectar type soothing body for a short duration. I would come out of your body as soon as pain caused by burning sensation would alleviate.”

Vikram opened his mouth and Sinduriyo Nag speedily crept in and sat in abdomen of the King.

After sometime, the king said, “Brother as per your assurance, please make an exit.”

The snake who was sitting in Vikram’s tummy said, “Ram Ram, I am not mad that I come out by leaving such a cozy abode.”

Vikram thought, ‗no issue, how could I disregard or cause extinction of one, to whom I have given shelter. I have a habit of taking a dose of opium every day. If I take opium then the serpent sitting in my tummy may loss his life. So from today onward opium is forbidden to me.’

Vikram gave up his everyday intake of opium but he walked by dragging himself. His belly bloated like pot, his hands and legs became scrawny. His eyes became feeble and painful. Nobody could identify him. He had extremely grievous ache in abdomen.

Losing awareness of all senses, Vikram was dragging his legs in the market. During that time what happened?

The king of that town had two daughters. By keeping hands on both daughters, father asked, “Tell me dear, Are you self-reliant or reliant?”

The elder one said father, ‘I am reliant.’

The younger one said father, “In this world, everyone receives the results of their own deeds. No one can erase even two digits that are written in the foreheads by destiny; nor could one add any. So I am self-reliant.”

E...M girl, this much your haughtiness; is there any attendant?”

‘At his single call, twenty one attendants became present.’

“Tomorrow morning by making younger princess sit in the chariot you go to the market place of the town. If you come across any blind, deaf, dumb, orphan, handicapped or ailing man, then get her married with him; then we would see how long her self-reliance will remain.”

They went to the market, and then on the raised platform of one shop they saw Vikram who was lying there. His pupils of eyes were hauled in. There was a little life in him.

Sudden marriage was performed and soldiers got the younger Princess, married to Vikram.

As a marriage gift they gave her the seven generation older small cart. They gave her two weak bullocks that stop just by walking three gaw. They provided one female attendant. Princess sat in the cart and went along with the king Vikram.

In the afternoon under the shelter of banyan tree, they parked the cart. The Princess sat down and took her unconscious King in her lap. The maidservant fell asleep. The Princess was patting her diseased husband. After sometime by putting down the body of her sleeping husband on the floor, she went to fetch water.

What did happen behind her?

Gallant Vikram was sleeping. His mouth was open. Slowly, slowly Sinduriyo Nag lying in the stomach peeped out to take fresh air. As it popped out his head and looked here and there by clobbering its tongue, suddenly a sound came.... ‘Oh disgusting shameless, mean serpent of inferior breed!’

Snake got startled and looked around then it saw that another Snake sitting in the opposite burrow was shouting “you malignant, you do not belong to Nine Lineages of Serpents.”

Sinduriyo nag made a hissing sound and retorted, “Why are you reviling me?”

“What else can I do if I do not abuse you? You did not find any other person that you sat in abdomen of that King Vikram who removes others‘predicament; it is shameful on your part! There is no preceptor over you.”

“Keep your wise words with you”, Sinduriyo said: “You had inappropriately overpowered somebody’s wealth.”

“I am sitting on somebody’s wealth but alike you I am not sitting on somebody’s body. Oh sinner right now, if anyone makes you drink by pounding sava ser nux vomica then you would realize; your pieces of the body will come out.”

“Have you come in this world with the title of immortality? You have exposed me as thief; but remember if someone by boiling adhman oil pours it in your burrow then soon you would become lump of gold. Seven broad mouthed vessels containing treasure that you possess would go into somebody’s hand.”

By saying such, both the serpents oscillated their hoods against each other and went. One went into its burrow and other crept in abdomen of King Vikram.

The Princess came back by fetching water. She overheard the conversation of both the serpents. She awoke her attendant.

“Attendant, Attendant-you go quickly to the market and pick up sava ser nux vomica, adhmann sweet oil and frying pan made of iron.”

Soon all the ordered item were supplied. The Princess thought that if these talk would be wrong then arrrr! If I give venom to my husband, and if he may die then what to do? If it would happen then I would be a criminal. Therefore, the first thing is to do test on the Snake lying in the burrow.

She ignited bonfire and heated the oil. Both women by lifting together the pan of oil poured hot oil into the burrow. Soon by making snorting sound, the snake came out and soon it turned into lump of gold. They started to dig the burrow. As they dug knee deep pit, then one broad mouthed vessel, two broad mouthed vessels, three broad mouthed vessels, and four! Thus, seven containers of brass were shoved out. They opened vessels and found that they were brimming over with gold guineas.

They covered the burrow with sand. She pounded sava ser nux vomica and slowly poured the drops into the mouth of King. As pa sheer went in tummy soon Sinduriyo Nag choked within and gushed out and soon its body shattered into pieces.

By carrying a tiny pot of milk in hand, Princess gradually started to pour drops of milk in the mouth of Vikram. As soon as he gulped down milk, soon his hand and legs were vitalized. His internal 32 bodily cells brightened. By twisting arms casting off indolence, King Vikram woke up. On getting up he got startled.

“Oh Princess, what you did? The three pieces of Sinduriyo Nag! How it happened? Who killed him?”

The Princess elaborately narrated each detail of the whole incident.

Arrrr! Woman, you have involved me into wicked sin. You killed the one who was under my protection.

Vikram put the pieces of serpent in the secret recess of his shield. The King had not taken bath for many days. His complexion became dark. Royal luster looked blurred.

‘Hey Satti I want to take bath in the well.’ “Welcome Swaminath I would give you bath by massaging you with my hands.”

As they went down into well they heard the sound of mourning, ‘arrrr; who is wailing?’ By keeping Knee touching long, silky hair, one woman was shedding tears and was continuously making desperate sigh “My lord, my husband.” Due to excessive crying her rosy eyes became puffy and swollen; she removed her ornaments and made them scatter everyone.

Vikram asked, “Hey Satti, who are you?” Why are you crying by standing in water?”

“King, I am Nag Padamni of subterranean region. In water of the well, there is our palace. Somebody killed my husband Sinduriyo Nag.”

“Oh no, unfortunately we are the killer of your husband. Look, these are the pieces of his body.”

“Oho! Now there is no need to worry. I would puff life into these pieces.”

After saying, such Padamni plunged into water returned within a twinkling of the eye. In her hand, there was a pitcher full of nectar.

By joining three pieces, Padamni sprinkled nectar. One, two, and during the third sprinkle of nectar; the serpent swiftly got up by rocking its massive hood. The Serpent was empowered with the human language. ―Hey woman, I am sinner. This King had saved me from the intense fire. He allowed me to sit in his abdomen! Oh his stomach was very soothing but I offender forbade to come out. To keep me alive he renounced his regular dose of opium.”

‘Hey, Vikram, demand, demand.’

“If I want to ask anything then God serpent, I would ask only one thing that one Brahmin son during his marriage ceremony died in the Chori. I am the culprit; I owe the big blot of his death on my forehead. Would you please give me two, three drops of nectar?

“Why did do take only two drops? You could take the whole pitcher of nectar.” The King went along with the queen by carrying the pot of nectar.

It was the last night of six months. All were waiting for the King. The dead body was kept by stuffing medicines into it. The three wicks made of ghee were burning incessantly. There was cloud of smoke of fragrant incense; at that time, Vikram made a loud call—

“Oh brother, are you awake or asleep?”

“King we are awake, we had not taken a single wink of eye since six months.”

One, two and three, with the three sprinkle of nectar; soon the son of Brahmin got up by twisting his body he cast off his indolence. The Goddess of Destiny made an oracle, “I failed and Vikram you have won.”

By getting nephew married, the king and the queen came to Ujjani.

“Hey King Bhoj, if you had done such type of tasks then only you sit on the throne; otherwise you would not last on it.”

On saying, such the first puppet became mute. Soon with the zannnn sound, the second puppet started dancing and in human voice started to speak smilingly:

“Listen hey King Bhoj! I would tell you another story of King Vikram who was sitting on the throne.”

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